Cariño: Band Aid

"DI NA 'ko papayag mawala ka muli... di na 'ko papayag na muli mabawi... ating kalayaan... kay tagal natin mithi. Di na papayagang mabawi muli.” So go the opening lines of “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo...” – that song put together by a who’s who of Filipino musical artists doing a Band Aid act right after the stunning success of the one and only Edsa People Power revolution, February, 1986. ‘Handog” is played in one of my classes a couple of days ago as part of a report about Philippine broadcasting history.

My mind flashes back, trying to rewrap itself around the memory to those four days of the Edsa revolution, itself occurring just six months and some after another historic first, Live Aid. Held in July, 2015, Live Aid, that trans-Atlantic rock concert, literally rocks the world with the sheer audacity of it: top bands onstage in London and Philadelphia, alternately performing to a worldwide audience via satellite. The mammoth production is still one to beat. It stands out, a historical moment that comes but once, un-replicatable, if you will. Just. Like. Edsa.

In the mall later that same day of aforementioned class report, the music playing is another inimitable first, Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” I find myself enjoying the famous tune, singing the famous lyrics, and marveling at how the song has become a Christmas classic. It is cut on November 25, 1984, released on the 29th, and goes on to sell a million copies in its first week of sales. By the year’s end, it surpasses three million pounds in sales. The most groundbreaking thing about “Christmas” is that it is cut, released, and sold to raise money for the famine that grips Africa at that time.

It is one Bob Geldof who sees an October, 2014 BBC documentary about the famine in Africa and as a result proceeds to organize the talent to produce Band Aid’s “Christmas”. Band Aid has Sting Bono, Wham, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Boy George, and other top British bands, each one itself famously capable of filling an entire stadium. Geldof then goes on to organize Live Aid, still to raise money for the famine in Africa. Boomtown rat Bob Geldof is soon after Robert Geldof, OBE.

Still in the mall, I am thinking, it will take an entire semester to make my students understand and appreciate all this and attendant lessons, not to mention “Christmas” as a major, major plotpoint in broadcast history.

For the moment, I am putting all coins and small bills in every collection box I come across, dedicated to the feeding of Filipino children. Yes, Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is a sobering song about feeding the starving. Feed the world. Start with yours.

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